Olympic flame lights up Borders summer

Regardless of what the weather may bring, the Olympic torch will bring a glow to Berwickshire today as it leaves Scotland on its 8,000 mile journey.

The normally quiet roads on the route from Gordon eastwards to Foulden will be quite a sight.

Verges, fences, houses and vehicles will all be commandeered into vantage points, as Borderers press for a glimpse of the famous flame.

The convoy itself will be impressive, as there will be at least 12 vehicles accompanying the handpicked torchbearers.

They include a media truck, a security vehicle and a pilot car. These vehicles will be transporting bearers and their torches aong the roads between the villages, where the torch will be paraded.

The torch’s journey will start this morning in Edinburgh, setting off at 7am. It will cover the length of Lothian this morning, and is expected in Alnwick at around 7pm tonight.

The relay will pass right through Gordon in just three minutes before moving though Greenlaw in 13 minutes, Duns in 20, Chirnside 13 and Foulden in nine minutes on day 27 of its 70-day journey around the UK.

It will then cross the border en route to Berwick. Large crowds are expected at the Border as the torch leaves Scottish soil.

Twelve torch bearers will carry the flame through five Berwickshire locations, although only two of them are from the Borders.

Callum Airlie, the talented teenage sailor from Westruther, has the honour of carrying the torch through Gordon after being selected because of his commitment and dedication to his sport and inspiring young people.

Melrose Rugby Club youth coach Mark Gaddie will take it through Greenlaw in what is sure to be a proud moment. Nominated by the children he coaches, the 46 year-old will carry the torch in memory of his wife Alison, who died last October from cancer, aged just 39.

Mark continued coaching throughout Alison’s illness as well as caring for his two children and has carried on since her death. Alison never missed a sporting fixture and supported the youngsters and Mark’s achievements right up until a month before she died.

Overall, five of the 8,000 torch bearers, each of whom will have to pay £215 to Games organisers LOCOG to buy their own torch as a souvenir, are from Berwickshire.

Retired mountaineer Terry Nicholls, 70, from Burnmouth, will carry the torch through Milton Bridge, near Penicuik.

He will pass it on to Phil Craze, the 37 year-old from Duns who holds an indooor rowing world record.

Iain MacDonald, the 58 year-old Duns archer who has cerebral palsy, will carry the torch through Berwick, while Eyemouth’s Alex McNeil will be watching with interest: he has to wait another week before getting his hands on it in Workington on June 21.

Torch parties will be in full swing throughout the day.

Gordon is kicking off the celebrations with a lunch in the village hall at 2pm. Berwickshire High School are counting down to their own Olympic moment - the torch passes right by their front door - by holding a summer fete on the same day from 12.30pm to 2.30pm